I have achieved a phase in my life during which I cannot have an adult conversation in my own home without being interrupted by a small person who feels that whatever they have to say or request is much more important than the conversation I am currently having. These interruptions typically consist of a long-winded explanation of a recent television commercial for a must-have product (“Have you ever heard of moon sand?”), a veiled attempt to pressure me into purchasing said product (“I think YOU would really like moon sand, Mom”), a random fact about a Guinness world record involving something disgusting (“Did you know the longest fingernails ever were three feet long?”) or a loud request for assistance in the bathroom (“CAN YOU HELP ME WIPE!?”).
My reactions to these interruptions vary based on the level of importance of the conversation I was currently having, my willingness to get involved in an intense discussion on something like moon sand or long dirty fingernails, and how annoyed I am at being interrupted in the first place.
I have tried numerous times (and not just when I am in a state of annoyance) to explain to these small people that the world (including the rapt and undivided attention of their mother) does not revolve around them and interrupting someone without a reason that constitutes an emergency is rude. I have had this conversation multiple times:
“Are you on fire?”
“Is someone else near you on fire?”
“Are you bleeding or is someone else near you bleeding or otherwise critically injured?”
“Then, you can wait ‘til I’m done talking.”
And, yet, they never do.
Sometimes, when I am talking on the phone, they will run into the room and open their mouths to speak and I will quickly put up the universal sign to wait – a pointed index finger into the air. At one point, that probably meant ‘Give me one more minute to finish’, but now, especially when paired with a lip-pursing, eyebrow furrowed glare, means ‘If you say one more word and interrupt me for the 15th time today about something frivolous and most likely involving an iPad app you want to download, I will make it my mission to destroy your happiness for the rest of the day, up to and including withholding dessert.”
However, even my deepest eyebrow furrow is often no match for that apparently desperate, urgent desire to open one’s mouth and vomit forth a spew of random and arbitrary thoughts designed for immediate satisfaction and acknowledgement. “My wizard just made level six!” “I think my right hand is asleep!” “Is there chocolate on my face?!” “Max just stepped on my foot on purpose!”
Mostly likely, the only permanent solution to my problem is time. I know there will come a day when they won’t come running to me. I won’t be the first person with whom they want to share these immediate and critical issues. Granted, the issues will be different and probably won’t involve moon sand, but I’ll be lucky to hear about them during our bi-weekly phone calls. That they make out of guilt. When they remember. (Cue violins here.)
So, for now, even though I don’t like being interrupted, and even though I will keep trying to teach them how to be more polite about it, I’ll try to remember to keep in mind that what’s important to them should be important to me too. Even moon sand.